Equipped with one enormous jelly green raffle ticket roll and cute little aprons, round and round we buzzed like the proverbial summer bee at a watermelon fest. ‘We’re raising money for a little boy named ‘Cash’ who is sick. Would you like to buy a ticket to help his family?” A few folks swatted us away but most bought a ticket or twenty.
We wrapped up a 4 week stay in Denair, California with a antique car rally on Saturday that Denair Connecting Point Naz hosted for a sick little boy nicknamed Cash. I punched in with the 6:30 AM early bird workers mostly to get first dibs on the breakfast tortillas and coffee. As the community started wandering in, Amanda handed me two aprons, the jelly green raffle role and told me to ‘sell raffle tickets’.
Once I got into the swing of my delivery approach (never set an extrovert with WOO loose on an unsuspecting community). WOO = a character trait of someone who feels energized when their job is to meet and win over new people – Strength Finders. You guessed it, a community of innocent people wandering around antique cars is an almond tree grove to me.
It can be a heady experience when the charm goes right. But somewhere along the way, Jesus reminded me that even this selling of green tickets was about him. As I wandered in and out of conversations, it occurred to me, not for the first time, that ordinary folk, community-car-rally-folk, seemed to be naturally drawn to Jesus back in the day. Sans green jelly raffle tickets and apron, he invited a group of hairy fishermen to dock their boats and follow him. And they did. What kind of crazy is that?
‘They’re not here to be wooed by you’ He reminded me. ‘They’re here to get connected to me’. It is so very true. And once I got that in my head, yesterday’s buzzing took on a different tone. Those of us ‘in the church’ soon forget that the Holy Spirit is the power in the lives of believers to the not-yet community; a sweet intangible tangible – something you can not see but is as evident as a lime green raffle ticket. I knew that sense once upon a time before I became a believer. Suddenly, that watermelon eating, wandering group began to look a little different to me. I asked Jesus to fill me with the heady fragrance of his presence.
It seems that most of us tend to become fixated on the project of getting people into church but Jesus evidently, well, genuinely liked them. People were never projects. Denair Nazarenes have it right. Spin a few records, park a few antique cars, invite folk to come, eat, fellowship and wrap your arms around a community. Let the Holy Spirit do the glorious rest.
Funny thing. Later last night, our family visited Yogoliscious one last time. I found myself watching the sidewalks differently; scanning the faces for new friends with a bright green raffle ticket tucked into their pockets as I licked my sticky-sweet mess. Could it be that the more we buzz in and out of the lives of ordinary-car-folk lives, the more we ourselves become attached, interested, pulled, called, synced, ahhh connected.
Thanks Connecting Point Nazarene for a wonderful day of watermelon, cars, a helicopter landing, a fireman presentation, and a fundraiser for a sweet little boy that Jesus loves. And thanks, Jesus, for a reminder that WOO isn’t about me, its about You and the people you came to heal.